Volume 2: Filmography

 

THE SAILOR'S SMILING SPIRIT

 

a.k.a. THE SMILING SAILOR'S SPIRIT

(Falstaff)

April 17, 1916 (Monday)

Length: 1 reel

Character: Comedy

Director: William A. Howell

Assistant director: William Sullivan

Scenario: Lloyd F. Lonergan

Cameraman: George K. Hollister

Cast: Walter Hiers (smiling sailor), Gladys Dore (his wife), Riley Chamberlin (wealthy greengrocer), Thomas A. Curran (wicked anarchist)

Location: Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida

Notes: 1. The title was listed as The Smiling Sailor's Spirit in a few notices, including in The Florida Metropolis, February 25, 1916, which noted that the film was being produced at that time. A reading of the synopsis indicates that this may have been intended as the main title, however Thanhouser publicity had it as The Sailor's Smiling Spirit. 2. Filming of this subject was completed during the week ending March 4, 1916.

 

ARTICLE, Sunday Metropolis, March 5, 1916:

"Fatty Hiers, the popular Falstaff comedian, almost took an extended trip abroad last week. We say almost, for Fatty did not go abroad, but came so near that there was no fun in it. Director Howell had to take a scene for his Falstaff comedy, The Sailor's Smiling Spirit, showing Fatty as a sailor arriving at the docks just in time to catch his boat. They were going to take the scene aboard the Danish barkentine Claudia. While Mr. Howell and his assistant, Billy Sullivan, were figuring out some scheme to get Fatty off the boat after it had started, Cameraman Hollister noticed the ship pulling away from the docks and shouted to Fatty to jump aboard, then started to crank. Fatty made a wild jump, arriving aboard the rear end of the liner, and Billy Sullivan set out in a rowboat, but after getting in mid stream it was found impossible to get close enough to the liner to let Fatty off. 'Goodbye, send us a wireless,' shouted Howell and immediately reported to the studio that they had lost their principal comedian. A couple of hours later a telephone call was received from Fatty at Mayport saying that he had been transferred to the tugboat after they reached the mouth of the St. John's River and that he would return home by train. It is rumored that Hiers refuses to do any more comedies calling for sailing steamers."

 

SYNOPSIS, Reel Life, April 15, 1916:

"The greengrocer hated the smiling sailor because he wished that the smiling sailor's wife was a widow so he could marry her. So when the grocer was tempted by a wicked anarchist he yielded to temptation. The anarchist had an oversupply of bombs and he suggested that a few tons of them be hidden about on the smiling sailor's ship. The greengrocer speculated in bombs and the anarchist's friends placed many scores of them on the vessel without any interruption. A few hours later the anarchist was arrested, and told of what had happened to the ship. The sailor's wife naturally believed she was a widow. The greengrocer would have been very happy had it not been for the fact that everywhere he went he saw the spirit of the smiling sailor. He found, however, that by utilizing other strong spirits he could banish the smiling sailor's spirit, and at last the marriage day was arranged. On that morning the greengrocer was waiting in the widow's parlor when he saw the spirit, for this time it was not in water; in fact, it walked in by the front door and asked him what he wanted there. A few moments after the secret was revealed, for the 'widow' came in, not in her bridal gown, but in her ordinary house dress. He told her that the voyage had been extremely prosperous. The wife smilingly said: 'My dear, this man has called to try to sell some groceries, but I'm afraid he has been drinking, and I wish you would put him out.' The sailor gallantly did as requested."

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, April 22, 1916:

_"Riley Chamberlin and Fatty Hiers appear in this amusing comedy. The former is a grocer who covets the latter's wife. He places bombs in the sailor's vessel, but the latter turns up unexpectedly after his supposed death. This is a quietly amusing subject. The homecoming is a good scene."

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.